Fall is knocking on our doors. It’s the Fall Equinox, when the earth will experience equal hours of day and night. This first day of Autumn promises us cooler temperatures, perhaps rain, and shorter days. This rhythm of Mother Nature calls on us to embrace the coming darkness and introspect within ourselves to nourish our inner light.
The shift of the season carries with it dry, rough, cold, yet subtle and light qualities. To keep balance in our bodies this season we can intuitively seek foods with opposite and warmer qualities. We can achieve balance by consuming foods that ground, moisten, nurture, and warm the body. Naturally we start to cook heavier dishes and desserts like pie are a hit in the Autumn. Our bodies crave sweet, sour, and salty tastes this time of the year.
Look at what is being harvested in the environment right now and you may see fresh sweet fruits that were at its ripest over the summer and are readily available now, such as mango, coconut, berries and peaches. Fresh sour fruits like cherries, plums, green grapes are wonderful options for the Fall. In my own garden, I have lemon and limes ready for the picking now. Sweet veggies like corn and peas when cooked with a little salt is perfect for the Fall season and it’s Ayurvedic Vata dosha.
Pomegranates are also coming into season in the fall. Pomegranate juice can be sweet or sour, but most fruits are moderate in taste, with sour notes from the acidic ellagitannins contained in the juice. This makes it just right for the balancing ingredient this season. At the start of Autumn weather is still warmer and we have had a wave of hot weather here. That is why I think that the soothing Pomegranate, a favorite in the heat of the Middle East and its location of origin, Iran, is perfect right now. A creamy Pomegranate Posset is ideal for an Autumn Equinox delight.
You may be wondering about what a Posset is. The Posset goes back to the ancient Greek era and was a fermented drink. From the Medieval times on it has been known first as an English hot drink made of milk curdled with wine and today’s posset is best known as an English chilled dessert with a marvelously plush texture of a mousse or pudding that comes together almost by magic from nothing more than sugar, cream, and citrus juice. You know me, I love magic in my food, so I had to offer Pomegranate Posset this Autumn.
While you indulge in this recipe of Pomegranate Posset, dwell on one of the best known of all the harvest mythologies, the Greek myth of how Persephone and a few pomegranate seeds caused the change of the seasons.
Demeter was a goddess of grain and of the harvest in ancient Greece. Her daughter, Persephone, caught the eye of Hades, God of the underworld. When Hades kidnapped Persephone and took her back to the underworld, Demeter’s grief caused the crops on earth to die and go dormant. When Demeter finally finds her daughter, Hades unhappily agrees to allow Persephone to return to her mother, but only if she has not eaten anything while in the underworld. Unfortunately, Persephone has eaten six pomegranate seeds, and so was doomed to spend six months of the year in the underworld and six months with her mother every year. These six months are the time when the earth dies, beginning at the time of the Autumn Equinox when Persephone enters the underworld and does not return until Spring Equinox because her mother Demeter, in mourning, refuses to allow anything to grow on the earth.
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup pistachios, chopped and lightly toasted (optional)
1/8 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
- Gently bring the heavy cream and sugar to a boil in a heavy pot. Start at a medium low heat, stirring frequently, and raise the stove heat to medium-high, being careful not to let the cream boil over.
- Boil the cream and sugar for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Add the pomegranate juice, stirring until the mixture is an uniform color.
- Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
- Pour into your choice of serving glasses and refrigerate them for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Before serving, top with pomegranate seeds and chopped, lightly toasted pistachios. (optional)
- Serve cold.
Warm wishes to all for a sweet, fruitful and healthy Autumn, filled with blessings as numerous as the seeds of the pomegranate.